How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Global Ocean Productivity
Antoine, D., Morel, A., Gordon, H.R., Banzon, V.J. and Evans, R.H.  2005.  Bridging ocean color observations of the 1980s and 2000s in search of long-term trends.  Journal of Geophysical Research 110: 10.1029/2004JC002620.

Antoine et al. introduce their study by noting that "a major objective of today's oceanography and ocean biogeochemistry is the identification and quantification of trends in the biomass of photosynthesizing oceanic algae, i.e., the phytoplankton, in response to global environmental changes," not the least of which is the ongoing rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration and "the rise in the mean temperature of the globe (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001; Hansen et al., 1999)," which the cited authorities primarily attribute to the former phenomenon.

What was done
As described by the authors, "a comprehensive revision of the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) data-processing algorithms [was] undertaken to generate a revised level 2 data set from the near-8-year archive (1979-1986)," while "to produce an internally consistent time series, the same revised algorithms also [were] applied to the first 5 years of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) ocean color observations (1998-2002)," which procedures were needed "to determine whether or not the ocean biogeochemistry has evolved in the past years."

What was learned
Antoine et al. report that "analysis of decadal changes from the CZCS to the SeaWiFS era shows an overall increase of the world ocean average chlorophyll concentration by about 22%."

What it means
In spite of the truly significant increase in the air's CO2 content over the period of study - the continuation of which climate alarmists claim will eventually prove the undoing of all types of life aquatic - and in spite of the supposedly unprecedented (over the past two millennia) rate of rise of the mean temperature of the globe - which they claim will do the same - the standing stock of oceanic primary producers, upon which all the rest of the marine biota ultimately depend for food, rose by a phenomenal 22% over just the last two decades.

Could it be that the "twin evils" of the radical environmental movement are not so bad after all?  Yes, it really could.

Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Glascoe, J. and Sato, M.  1999.  GISS analysis of surface temperature change.  Journal of Geophysical Research 104: 30,997-31,022.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  2001.  Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis.  Cambridge University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Reviewed 16 November 2005